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Oxygen crunch: Centre assures stock available as Covid-19 cases rise

BusinessToday.In     April 15, 2021

Amid concerns over shortage of medical oxygen as coronavirus wreaks havoc in the country, the government has said India's daily production capacity and stock is comfortably more than daily consumption of medical oxygen. It said the steps are being taken to avoid panic regarding availability of medical oxygen.

A health ministry statement said the Centre has observed an unusual rise in the demand for medical oxygen in some states as coronavirus cases rise exponentially in some states. For this, EG2, an inter-ministerial empowered group of officers, is ensuring the adequate availability of essential medical equipment, including medical oxygen, to the states affected due to coronavirus, a statement by the health ministry said.

"EG2 is monitoring the situation of demand and supply of medical oxygen continuously to ensure that all necessary steps are taken to support the uninterrupted supply of medical oxygen," the health ministry said.

Also read: Remdesivir only for hospitalised patients low on oxygen, says Health Ministry

The panel has recommended a detailed daily mapping of sources for the supply of medical oxygen to the affected states to ensure uninterrupted supply.

The Centre thinks so far the medical oxygen supply is enough to cater to the rising demand. "With increasing cases, the medical oxygen consumption will need to keep pace with the requirements of the states. For this, the current oxygen stocks of the country, including the industrial oxygen stocks with the manufacturing plants, is more than 50,000 MTs," the statement said.

As per the government, there is a sufficient production capacity of around 7127 MTs for oxygen in the country, and as per need, the surplus oxygen available with the steel plants is also being utilised.

India has a daily production capacity of 7127 MT of oxygen per day. Against this, the total production has been 100 per cent since the past two days, as directed by EG2, since supply to medical oxygen has gone up rapidly. "On April 12, the medical oxygen consumption in the country was 3,842 MTs, that is 54 per cent of the daily production capacity," the statement added.

States like Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Delhi, followed by Chhattisgarh, Punjab, and Rajasthan are consuming maximum medical oxygen. Along with the ramped up production of the oxygen manufacturing units and the surplus stocks available, the present availability of oxygen is sufficient.

At the same time, states are being asked to make rational use of medical oxygen and ensure there is no wastage. They are also setting up control rooms to ensure a smooth supply of oxygen to the districts as per need, review the requirement of cylinders, tankers, etc.

Also read: COVID-19: Govt approves plan to increase production of Remdesivir, drug cos to cut price

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